Brackley-born Harry Pane releases his new – and perhaps best – single today. ‘Beautiful Life’ is a meditative folk-ballad that can’t fail to produce an emotional shiver or two. Over the past three years Pane has wowed the wider world with his raw skills of voice and guitar. New Boots spoke to Pane about life in 2018.
Tell us a little about your journey from a boy in Brackley to the person now in Walthamstow, north London.
I was playing ‘the circuit’ in that area for a while just earning some pennies & it came to a point where I realised I needed to spread my wings a little.
Who encouraged you to begin making music?
I was influenced growing up on a farm watching my Dad jamming with friends as well as going to watch live music from a young age and it was a heavy influence on me.
Was there a eureka moment, an influence that pulled you in this direction?
When I first performed live at school aged 15, in front of a small assembly, it gave me buzz and I carried on doing it.
Did the move to London come from you or were you encouraged to relocate?
I had some friends down there so it made it easy to make the move.
Who are your main influences in music? The Celtic bits presumably come from John Martyn and some Richard Thompson.
That’s dead right, I love those two artists and their style of songwriting. It goes across the board; from Damien Rice and Glen Hansard and Christy Moore to the likes of Bob Dylan, Tracy Chapman & Justin Vernon.
How do the words come to you; in fragments, a story to be told..?
Sometimes it can happen all at once and other times I have instrumental parts and no lyrics and vice versa. I guess it’s just the artistic process.
An obvious question: what’s ‘Beautiful Life’ about?
I wrote it about the support I had around me through a difficult time, and that support helping you to make peace with it all.
We’re constantly told these days acts don’t even need a traditional label. In light of that could you tell us what Island are doing for you and your development?
Island gave me a development fund which I used for The Wild Winds EP, but now I’m an independent artist with AWAL, who I really love working with and I’m enjoying the adventure.
What is an “Official Showcasing Artist” at SXSW? Are you looking forward to the trip?
It’s the term that they use for the artists invited to play on the line up, there are hundreds of unofficial showcases going on around it which are also lots of fun, and I’m doing those too. I played there in 2016, so it’ll be nice to be back having made more progress and learning a bit more. Austin is a great city.
What’s your favourite sort of show: intimate jazz house, pub with a fire, big festival crowd…?
I enjoy playing in all scenarios for different reasons, it’s nice to do a mix.
Do you always play solo, or do you ever have cohorts?
At the moment I have a double bassist in tow. I’m also looking out for other members as a side project.
What’s been the highlight of your music career so far?
I would say there’s been a bundle of positives that have made a difference to my career and given me the boost that I needed: successful crowdfunding, good relationships within the industry, great festival spots and more recently a publishing deal.
What is your burning desire for the future? What plans do you have?
To keep writing and co-writing and keep strengthening my material. The general goal is to grow a loyal and steady fan base whilst staying true to my love for the music.
Beautiful Life is out now to download/stream